Saturday, 8 July 2006

The Sad Story of the Snooker Sweater

I've been so uninspired by my knitting recently that for the past few days I've done nothing at all. Nary a stitch. Instead, I've been reading Lost Illusions, watching Hable con ella on video, My Neighbour Totoro on DVD, and the Wimbledon and World Cup finals on TV, eating a lot and hanging out with my sister.

Then this morning as I was thinking about the sorry state of my knitting, light dawned and I realised it was time to put an end to the sad existence of the Snooker Sweater. For some reason I seem to name quite a lot of my knitting after sports. My first FO was the Cricket Clapotis, knit whilst watching England win The Ashes last summer. The socks in the last post, had they been completed, would have been my Football Socks, owing to their stripiness and the fact that I turned my first heel cheering on Henry, Makélélé and Zidane as France beat Portugal in their World Cup Semi-Final. (I was very sad indeed when they lost in the Final). This one is called the Snooker Sweater because I started swatching with the yarn while watching the World Championship semi-final between Marco Fu and Peter Ebdon, and realised it was exactly the colour of the baize table.

The strangest thing about this is that I don't really think I watch much sport on TV. Odd.

Anyway, on with the tale. I have twice now attempted Jemima. I had originally wanted to knit a green version with a pink edging, but I was taken with some beautiful grey yarn at Patricia Roberts , when Rich and I were exploring London. Nearing the end of the first sleeve, the yarn announced loudly and clearly that it did not for one moment longer want to play my games, and was going to be a cardigan at some point, thank you very much. So Jemima went on the back burner. In April, I decided to try it again, and bought some green and pink yarn. Ashley had recommended Karabella for their wonderful colour palette, so I ordered some Aurora 8, struck by the dazzling vibrant beauty of the colours on my monitor. (If there are alarm bells ringing anywhere, they rang for me too; I asked if a shade card was available, found it wasn't, and carried right on). No matter that the yarn was worsted weight, and that one of the things I like most about Jemima is its drape: I'd seen Mari's version and I was determined to have a green and pink Jemima.

The yarn arrived, I opened the box with glee and - choral music, bright and ringing. The colours were so rich and vibrant they'd brought their own choir.

Awestruck, I gazed at this amazing yarn. Gazed and gazed and gazed, and then closed the box, realising that there was no way I could bend these joyous boisterous threads to the gentle and demure shape of Jemima. A week later Anna posted about Needle and Hook and there, on the Jemima page, I saw exactly the combination of green and pink I had been dreaming of. (Let's ignore the fact that my monitor may have been playing tricks on me there too). Sadly, I relegated my bright yarn to the yarn drawer.

But the song kept looping around and around in my head, and I worried and pondered on what to do with the Aurora. My stash was increasing at a rate of sweaters, and I had no exciting project to show for it. The yarn whipsered, 'V-neck, V-neck', and I realised it would have to be something simple in the extreme to take that intensity of green. A little while later Ashley started posting about Marilyn, and following her link, I stumbled across the Essential Stripe sweater pattern. Lo! A simple V-neck, written for exactly the yarn I had in my drawer!

So I've been knitting this sweater on buses and on returning from college for a while now, and got as far as the ribbed edging when something ground to a halt. A didn't like the 1x1 edging, so on Marie's good advice I tried a 2x1 and a 2x2, and still, something wasn't right. I've been dragging the sweater around the country for weeks now, off the needle because I wanted to use it for swatching something else, so uninspired that I haven't even accorded it the respect of a length of waste yarn. I've considered dyeing it, reknitting it to defy the natural lie of the yarn, trampling it underfoot whilst gnashing my teeth and setting fire to my hair... (I should point out at this point that I have nothing against the pattern, which is clearly written and beautifully simple).

Finally, realisation dawned this morning. Two of my friends have expressed admiration for the yarn. The yarn, that is, for its very colour and not for the images of the sweater that might have been had the purchaser chosen a more understated colour. I can send this pond-wards with impunity.

I hope you will join me in bidding a fond farewell to the Snooker Sweater. Its components hope to reappear here as a hat for Sam and a sweater for Josie's little cousin. I'll keep you posted.


Marie said...

Oh's too bad the Snooker Sweater didn't work out... Hopefully the next incarnations of the Karabella will be something you really love. I completely sympathize. It's so difficult to assess color on certainly makes me wish for a universal color card set with all the major brands of yarns...
Did you end up purchasing the perfect green and pink? (I'm guessing it's RYC cashsoft?)
Did you enjoy My Neighbor Totoro? It's one of my favorite animated films. :)

Ashley said...

Oh no. Well, at least you watched Totoro, which I hope cheered you right up.

If it makes you feel better, my last sweater's-worth yarn order was meant to be a lovely dusky purple. Instead it is a sort of greyish brown. Monitors. Feh.

Elli said...

So sad! All that knitting...*sniff*

Rachel said...

oh, poor snooker sweater and laddery sock. although i think a certain zeal for frogging is admirable, i'm currently ignoring a 75% finished somewhat cowl that i should have frogged a long time ago, but i can't bring myself to do it. i do think that green looks lovely though, on my monitor at least, and i'm sure it will turn out beautifully in whatever form it settles on.

Julia said...

Wow...what a journey! That yarn *is* completely beautiful. What an awesome green! Personally, I thought the pic you showed of the box of green and pink yarn looked great. But maybe in person the colors were crazy (I was looking at them on a computer monitor after all, like you said). I looove the idea of a pink and green version of that sweater! I say, try, try again: with new pinks and greens.

darling vicarage said...

farewell dear snooker sweater.....

but i'm pleased to see you're enjoying totoro ... don't clean your flat too much or you'll never cultivate the dust bunnies x